Joel Burns, who has represented District 9 on the Fort Worth City Council since January 2008, announced his resignation during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Burns’ resignation is effective immediately, but he will continue to serve as the District 9 representative as a holdover member until a special election is held and his replacement is elected. An election will be held along with the May bond election. Burns, 45, is leaving to attend the Harvard Kennedy School in Boston. He has been accepted into the school’s Mid-Career Master in Public Administration program. “It is an amazing honor and incredible opportunity I never thought possible,” Burns said. “And I was excited to accept Harvard’s invitation last week. But it’s a bittersweet moment, because participating in this program means choosing to step out of my seat here on the city council and say good-bye to a life-changing experience I never could have imagined when I was first elected in 2007.”
Burns served on the Zoning Commission, the Tarrant Housing Partnership and the Historic Fort Worth board as well as chaired the Historical and Cultural Landmarks Commission before taking the place of Sen. Wendy Davis on the city council. Burns received media attention in October 2010 when a YouTube video of Burns speaking to the Fort Worth City Council about bullying received nearly 3 million viewings. Burns appeared on several major network programs and, with an invitation from President Barack Obama, participated in the White House’s bullying prevention summit. Burns ran unopposed for re-election in 2009 and 2011.